It was 6.30am. The weather mild, the morning bright. I set out for my usual 20 minute walk, the dog, stretching into my stride, noticing the day waking up.
I could do that walk in my sleep, sometimes it feels like I do. But on this day I was strangely bright-eyed and wide awake. About 5 minutes into the walk I heard the footsteps following me.
I glanced behind and saw a tall, slim man wearing a heavy coat, a rimmed hat and dark glasses. He walked with his head down. My pulse quickened.
It’s classic. The report I imagined.
Mother of 4 missing. Signs of struggle. Foul play suspected.
I thought of my 13 year old who had admitted, just the day before, that he got into a car driven by someone he didn’t know. She seemed nice, she seemed to know me. She knew my name and there was another kid in the car. It’s okay mum, right.
I was beside myself.
Never, I said, N-E-V-E-R.
He was gaining pace, getting closer. I could hear my breathing shallow and fast. The dog sensed something, she kept glancing up at me. Should I turn back, should I run for the nearest house.
His pace quickened.
So what do you reckon. Was it a neighbor, also going out for his morning walk? Or some crazy rapist, going to drag me kicking and screaming into the boot of a car parked hidden behind the bushes?
You know it doesn’t even matter, that’s where my head went, so to some extent the damage was done.
Of course, I was fine, nothing actually happened, accept the rush of adrenalin, the thoughts of disaster. Another moment stolen from a peaceful morning.
Afterwards I began to beat myself up about the crazy imagination. I felt terrible that I’d given in to fear.
But then I realized. The fear protects us. Stops us doing stupid stuff. Keeps us safe. Too.
In my business it’s crucial. I get scared to do stuff. I hesitate, I think twice and then again. It makes me double check my stats. It makes me reconsider the risks. The trick is to still jump. To still do it. To never give in to the fear, just because of the fear.
So that’s my lesson. That’s the focus.
See fear as a friend. A chance to consider all perspectives. A reason to slow down, be less impulsive and more intentional.
The opportunity to take good risks and back away from the crazy stuff.
That’s good news. That’s good practice.
Sometimes it’s the fear that saves us – in every way.
What do you think? Leave a comment below.